Waiting to start,
a splinter of light against a vast dark.
What can begin to take hold in this barren yet fertile ground?
Chemotherapy strips you down, like paint thinner washing out the last self portrait. On a cellular level, diminished as each and every dark internal corner is washed in an acrid bath. It seeps out of you at night while you’re sleeping, soaking your PJs and making your urine bubble and fizz.
I count time in treatment windows, 7 days apart. One day off, then four daily shots of immune boosting Neupogen. Each day, one foot in front of the other, I count down to NOW… to Four treatments remaining. I am weary some days and optimistic others, with just a crack in the door beginning to open to the Rest of My Life.
On day 6, just before returning to the Oncologist is when I feel best. I can sense an inkling of normalcy in my system, which is a thing vastly taken for granted by most in good health. My hair is newborn fuzzy, and my nail beds near the little half moons are starting to look pinker and healthier. I am returning to a new version of myself.
I’m eager to feel good again, to really feel myself in this tired, achy body. She has been through so much.
This second birth is so different than the one that brought me forth all new and pink and screaming 37 years ago. Loaded with experience, expectations, and all my stories, I feel edgy and anxious to turn this page, to take a sharp turn and never look back. I wonder if there is a handbook called, “How Not to Burn Out in Your First Year After Cancer”? This next part of my life feels like a gift, a do-over. You get to live Melissa, now what are you going to do with it? I have a year to make up for, and just want to START.